Crypto Briefs is your daily bite-sized digest of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related news – keeping you up-to-date with under the radar crypto news from around the world.
- The former head of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Intelligence Service has alleged that Venezuela is secretly mining cryptocurrency on a massive scale – to the extent that citizens are now experiencing frequent blackouts and power shortages. Per a report from media outlet Konzapata, Simón Zerpa, the former head of the intelligence agency, known locally as Sebin, the country has imported a number of USD 5,000 rigs from China under the guise of creating infrastructure for its own Petro token. In another article from the same media outlet, Zerpa also claims the crypto exchanges that accept Petro trading in Venezuela are all directly controlled by prominent figures within the government.
- Binance has announced that it has opened Nigerian fiat naira-to-crypto trading. Per an official announcement, the company stated that it was now offering naira pairings with Bitcoin, as well as its own new American dollar-pegged BUSD stablecoin and the Binance Coin (BNB). Meanwhile, in the United States, Binance US has also announced that it has begun listing the Dogecoin cryptocurrency.
- Cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex says that the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has requested that Bittrex postpone the New York account closure deadline until further notice. Therefore, New York residents will be able to continue to withdraw funds, but may not deposit or trade on this platform. All trading for New York customers was halted in April 2019 and all account access was disabled in June by direction of the NYFDS.
- An American man is attempting to sue carrier AT&T, reports ABC. The man claims that AT&T staff allowed a hacker to access his mobile phone number, leading to the theft of over USD 1.8 million worth of cryptocurrencies from accounts at a number of cryptocurrency exchanges. The man says he was the victim of a SIM swap sting which has deprived him of his “entire life savings.”
- Police in Poland arrested president of Crypto Capital, aka Global Trade Solutions AG, Ivan Manuel Molina Lee, on accusations of money laundering as a member of the international drug cartel. According to W Polityce, he is wanted in Poland for laundering up to 1.5 billion zloty (c. USD 390 million) and laundering money for Columbian drug cartels through a cryptocurrency exchange. Meanwhile, Crypto Capital is accused by Bitfinex of losing USD 880 million of fund the exchange entrusted it with. As reported this week, the parent company of Bitfinex, iFinex Inc., has filed an application for discovery in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Southern California on October 18, 2019. iFinex claims that the discovery concerns its attempts to recover the aforementioned USD 880 million which the company allegedly wasn't able to access from December 2018 at least.
- The Deputy Chair of Russia’s upper house Constitutional Legislation Committee says there is an “urgent need” for the country to introduce blockchain- and cryptocurrency-related legislation. Per the country’s Parliamentary Gazette, the committee’s Lyudmila Bokova says the government’s regulatory framework cannot keep up with the pace of innovation.
- Russia’s Central Bank says it is considering using blockchain technology to power a system of cross-border remissions that it wants to have active by 2023, per RBC. The bank wants to speed up its digitization process, but its governor and deputy governors remain bitterly opposed to cryptocurrency usage – favoring a total, China-style crackdown.
- Japan’s Softbank, IBM Japan and TBCASoft (of the USA) have all joined forces to create a blockchain solution for mobile carriers using inter-carrier blockchain technology. Per Fisco, via Gentoshoa, the parties want to work on a new solution that would allow Japanese phone owners to use their mobile-based payment applications at stores overseas, and enable inter-carrier transactions.
- Though adoption is far from widespread, a rising number of Americans own crypto, according to a survey of 2,068 participants commissioned by Finder, an independent comparison platform and information service. In the last year, the survey says, the number of respondents who own a cryptocurrency has almost doubled from 7.95% in 2018 to 14.4% in 2019, which is an increase of 81% in one year. The average total in crypto that each is holding is USD 5,447, while the median amount of crypto in American digital wallets is just USD 360, claims the survey.
- ConsenSys Space, a subsidiary of blockchain company ConsenSys, has announced the launch of a new satellite tracker based on Ethereum’s network - a project called TruSat. According to their tweet, it is "a citizen-powered, open source system for creating a globally-accessible, trusted record of satellite orbital positions." The website further explains that TruSat is primarily designed to enable the assessment of satellite operations in the context of space sustainability standards, and that the software merges observations of a satellite from around the world into a transparent record of its location.
- Bitcoin startup Coinplug raised KRW 7.5 billion (USD 6.4 million) in a Series B-2 round funding. According to the announcement, the investors taking part in this round were South Korea's influential venture capital firms Mirae Asset Venture Investment, Smilegate Investment and KB Investment. With this investment the company says its total funding to date is over USD 12 million.
- SIBEX AG, developer of the peer-to-peer protocol, raised CHF 1.78 million (USD 1.79 million) in its seed funding round, with Fenbushi Capital, SIX, Accomplice and others taking part as investors, according to the press release.